A tenacious cheerleader rebels against the exclusive, men-only golf club that dominates the culture of her small Texas town. April 21-23 at Lifelong Ithaca. Part of the 2017 Ithaca Fringe Festival.
Written & Directed by James Comfort II.
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THEY TOLD HER SHE COULDN'T. SHE DIDN'T LISTEN.
Clover McNamara has the perfect life. Beloved by her town and worshiped by her friends, she has everything her Mother has always wanted for her. But that’s not what Clover wants. She wants to play golf. For over 100 years, the Paschal Golf Club has been the heart and soul of Epoch, Texas. There’s just one problem: the club doesn’t allow women. Throwing caution to the wind, Clover will attempt to fight her way into the club, and make history in the process.
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“Veteran Ithaca actors make a feast of the well-drawn roles…”
“Comfort’s sharpest writing.”
Read the Review
The Lightning Gap
by James Comfort II, Ithaca, NY
Review by Ross Haarstad
James Comfort II’s The Lightning Gap takes a gentle swing through the coming of age story, with a strong focus on the self-empowerment of a teenage girl. Clover McNamara wants to play golf, just like her late Daddy, and apparently, the majority of men in little Epoch, Texas have done. But the local club, Paschal, steeped in tradition, has never allowed women members. ‘Well, no women have ever been interested,’ explains the flummoxed Mayor, head of Paschal’s board.
Comfort uses a by-the-numbers naturalistic approach, which puts the weight on plot, characters, and humor. He has a sharp ear for the stylings of the teenagers—Clover, her best friend and fellow cheerleader Bailey, and her semi-secret Black boyfriend, Wesley; there is some delicate comedy in Clover and Wesley making meta-commentary about their dating.
The script neatly places Clover in the context of small-town expectations—of course Epoch’s “sweet Clover” will be the third generation of McNamara woman to be named homecoming queen. Clover is buried by ‘niceness’ that never sees her for who she is and now Clover is gonna fight back.
Comfort also directs, and though the scenes flow smoothly, they also are fairly static; and opening had some rough edges. The actors for the adult characters employ the vestige of a Texas accent, but the youngsters do not.
Veteran Ithaca actors make a feast of the well-drawn roles of the Mayor (a droll Arthur Bicknell, artfully deflecting Clover’s insistent questioning); the mother, Mary McNamara (Suzanne Vandemark, all surface polish with sharp edges) and the plum role of Mrs. Taylor, a grandmotherly sort with a touch of spunk (Judith Andrew in a sparkling and endearing performance.)
Tyree Cobbins is astute, quick, and grounded as Wesley; he and Ana Luisa Brady McCullough as Clover have a sweet chemistry. Kristina Feldesman bubbles and backtracks as best friend, Bailey. McCullough is always engaging, but a bit timorous in her early exchanges. She opens up nicely when by herself fantasizing and has a terrific row with her mother (Comfort’s sharpest writing).
Meet the Cast!
Ana Luisa McCullough
as Clover McNamara
as Mary McNamara
as Mrs. Taylor
as Wesley Blake
as Bayley Lynch
as Mayor Allen
Thank you to everyone who came out and supported The Lightning Gap! The 2017 Ithaca Fringe Festival was one hell of a ride, and we look forward to coming back and wowing everyone again in 2018.